In contrast to the world around it, over the last 50 years the traditional brick and mortar
retail environment has experienced little change. However, the sector is not immune to
disruption and as evidenced in the US and UK, the rise of pureplay online retailers can have
the effect of reducing physical stores in certain trade categories to little more than
showrooms if they don’t adapt their offering. In recent years, the influx of international
retailers to Australian shores has made the local market increasingly competitive and, as
such, has seen a number of retailers enter into administration as they struggle to compete
with the vertically integrated models of these global brands. With the Australian retail trade
environment set to enter a period of slower growth over the next 2-3 years, and the
acceleration of online retailing expected over this time (Figure 1), Australian retailers will
need to find innovative ways to leverage technology to enhance in-store customer
experience, improve sales and conversion rates and ultimately remain relevant.